Light yellow color with hint of green; classic Marlborough nose with cut grass, citrus on the nose; lemongrass, lime, tropical fruits on the palate.
Racy acidity (3.18 pH), nice fruit focus, clean, some complexity through resting on the lees, dry. Fruitiness gives illusion of sweet hint, but low residual sugar score (4.4 grams per litre) means it is the fruit talking, not sugar.
Matau (which means “The Most Senior One” in Maori language) founders Bill and Ross Spence planted the first commercial sauvignon blanc vineyard in New Zealand in 1969 and began producing wine from an old tin shed. The tin shed was critical because it had a winemaker’s license attached to it. Such licenses were very hard to obtain in New Zealand in the 1960s (hard to imagine now). They became the first commercial producers of sauv blanc in New Zealand in 1974.
Beringer-Blass Wine Estates invested in Matua in 2001, and in 2003 Ross retired. Bill stayed on as general manager of production until 2009, when he became Matua brand ambassador. Their vision and style, however, remains part of the operation. Greg Rowdon is chief winemaker today. $12
Second photo: Matua Valley vineyard